EFRAT COUNCIL head Oded Revivi hosts 30 Palestinians from the Bethlehem and Hebron area and representatives of the IDF and Border Police in his succa on Wednesday..
(photo credit: SHMUEL FITOUSSI)
Palestinian Authority security forces on Sunday released four Palestinians who were arrested after visiting the succa of Efrat Council head Oded Revivi.
“With the intervention of COGAT, the Palestinians, who were arrested following their visit to a succa, were released,” read a statement from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, a branch of the Defense Ministry.
The four men from the nearby village of Wadi al-Nes had visited Revivi’s succa on Wednesday as part of a group of 30 Palestinians from the Bethlehem and Hebron area.
Following their visit, pictures of some of the Palestinians standing alongside soldiers spread across social media.
Shortly thereafter, PA security forces arrested four of the Palestinians.
The PA Deputy-Governor of the Bethlehem Governorate Muhammad Taha told Wattan TV on Thursday that he condemns the Palestinians’ visit to the succa. “All Palestinians condemn the [visit], and visiting settlers is completely unacceptable,” he said, and added that the PA will hold the Palestinians who participated accountable.
A spokesman from the Bethlehem governor’s office told The Jerusalem Post that he does not have details on the legal status of the four Palestinians who were just released. Revivi said he was pleased to hear that the men had been freed, adding that immense pressure had been applied to secure their release. The event in his succa was part of a larger initiative he had led to build bridges with the Palestinian villages around his community.
“Efrat will continue to be a symbol for coexistence in the region. We’ll continue to work to hold such meetings because peace in the region will only come about through such meetings,” Revivi said.
Just hours before their release, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called on the international community to pressure the PA to release the four Palestinians.
He stated on his Facebook page, that their arrest was “yet one more proof of the Palestinian refusal to make peace. According to senior PA officials, they will be sentenced and jailed for the crime of normalization with Israel.”
Netanyahu used the incident to issue a global attack on left-wing human rights organizations.
“Where is the outrage of the human rights groups?” he asked. “There is none. They are shamefully silent. These are the same organizations that have little to say when the PA gives salaries to the families of terrorists, glorify murderers and name streets after them. Their silence on this issue proves that they are more interested in bashing Israel than in human rights.”